Indonesia to settle past serious human rights violations

Indonesia to settle past serious human rights violations

The government aims to settle past serious human rights violation cases by early May through reconcilition, or through a non judicial process, despite criticism by human rights groups and the families of victims.

At least six major human rights violations namely the 1965 communist purge, the 1989 Talangsari incident in Central Lampung, the 2001 and 2003 Wamena and Wasior incidents in Papua, various kidnappings and unresolved shootings in the 1980s, the May 1998 riots and the disappereances of activists would be settled by May 2, Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said on Thursday.

The settlement will be conducted through reconciliation as the government faced hurdles in settling them through the legal process.

“How do we find the evidence? I challenge, if there is anyone who can bring evidence of whom they want to be punished just bring it to us. We will take them to court. We have searched for evidence but we could not find it, therefore we’ll take it to a non-judicial settlement,” he said as quoted by adding that the government would also uphold the rights of victims and their families.

Scores of victims and the families of past human rights abuses from the Victims Solidarity Network for Justice (JSKK) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence ( Kontras) held their 435th Kamisan across from the State Palace on Thursday. Kamisan is a weekly silent protest held every Thursday by human rights activists, victims and families to demand that the government resolve past human rights abuse cases.

Feri Kusuma, an activist from Kontras, said that the groups were disappointed that the government’s final effort on the past human rights abuse cases would be reconciliation without taking the perpetrators to court.

Such a settlement would only perpetuate the impunity of the perpetrators. The groups had received a letter from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) saying that it was difficult to bring the cases to court due to a lack of evidance and most of the perpetrators and victims having passed away, he said.

Kontras also questioned the goverment’s statement on a lack of evidence as the AGO had not even started investigations as part of its obligation to complete the investigation files compiled by the the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

The legal process was needed, Feri said, as it would serve as a revelation of the truth for the victims and their families before moving to reconciliation efforts.

Member of JSKK Maria Katarina Sumarsih demanded that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo keep his promise to settle past human rights abuses and erase the impunity of the perpetrators.

Sumarsih, whose son Bernardus Realino Norma Irmawan died during the Semanggi I tragedy in 1998, asked Jokowi to issue a presidential decree to push the AGO to investigate the past human rights violations and bring the perpetrators to court.

“Mr. President, reconciliation without a legal process is impunity. As a state that upholds the law, the government must be responsive in carrying out its commitment by referring to the Human Rights Court Law,” she told

Source :The Jakarta Post



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